Strangers in a Strange Land – Part 1

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my wife and I toured about the former Yugoslavia back in September. We spent a couple of days in both Sarajevo, Bosnia and Dubrovnic, Croatia. We spent most of our time, however, traveling around Montenegro which, in the native tongue, is known as Crna Gora (pronounced “sigourney weaver” in keeping with my policy of attempting only random syllables of foreign words and making up the rest.)

Montenegro

First Stop: Budva

Elegant and Understated

We arrived in Budva, Montenegro via a bus from Dubrovnic. My wife referred to this seaside resort town as something of a Soviet Coney Island. The preponderance of Russian tourists added to this impression. There’s a rather pleasant boardwalk/street along the beach populated by theme bars and restaurants. It even featured one of those carny things where you try to ring the bell to win a Kewpie doll or, perhaps in this case, a Matryoshka doll.  It was klassay. The Trocadero with its replica Eiffel Tower and red vinyl seating just oozes culture and sophistication…well, at least it probably did in 1972. It appears that communism really did produce a classless society.

We had some appetizers for lunch at a restaurant that seems to want to put out a biker vibe. The food was, surprisingly, really good. We had excellent fried squid along with massive amounts of the local cheese. I had never before had fried olives but they were awesome and saltilicious.

Squid, olives and cheese.

I draw the line at mustard.

After walking around for several hours and visiting old town Budva for some drinks, we wandered back to our small hotel, stopping for pizza on the way. The pizza was pretty good but we were a little taken aback when they set a bottle of ketchup down with it. Well, when in Rome Budva do as the Budvarians (Budvarites?) do, I always say. Ya know what? Ketchup on pizza is pretty good.

Snack time

I’m always interested in trying new things and I love to shop in foreign grocery stores so we stopped in the local store on our way back to the room. I bought several different types of beer. The little keg shaped bottle is ingenious marketing that I couldn’t resist. What beer drinker doesn’t dream of having their own, personal keg? The beer inside was pretty good too. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the Kvass Russky (which I assume means it’s Russian). If it was indeed a beer, it is the first beer I’ve ever encountered that I was both unable and unwilling to finish. It tasted kinda like really shitty molasses. No wonder I was able to win the cold war.

We bought the Chipsy chips and Krap fish just for the names. The chips were deliciously greasy and, we suspect, loaded with transfats (which happen to be our favourite kind of fats). Kinda odd that this former communist dictatorship is more willing let grown ups make their own food choices than my own, traditionally free country.

The Krap is still in the can and is available in my room in KAF if anyone wants it. I generally like canned fish but I’m reluctant to open it for fear that the odour, particularly when combined with the fecal stench of our washroom, may create some sort of toxic haze.

The synergy produced by the extreme cloying sweetness of the Sendvic candies and our utter lack of self control caused us to begin to feel quite ill as we gobbled them on the road the next day. So much so, that we gave the half-empty box to a Gypsy beggar child who approached our car at a stoplight. That’s just the kind of altruistic philanthropists we are.

Bottom Line

Budva looks like it would be fun for the young’uns who would enjoy the flashy nightlife of the Trocadero but it lacked the charm and class we were to find at our next stop…Ulcinj (pronounced Ul-jawaljawoo). I’ll get to that in Part 2 which is due to be published when I damn well feel like it.

“If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, say it loud!” – William Strunk, Jr.

2 thoughts on “Strangers in a Strange Land – Part 1

  1. Aw, good times…. Good times.
    I forgot about the candies we gave away tithe poor unsuspecting beggar gypsy child. It’s a wonder we weren’t cursed.
    {shudder}

    At least the Krap makes the crap you eat seem good by comparison right?

  2. Your brotherthe tech, less handsome than you I might add, must be jealous of your worldly adventures. Excellent read. Think about a screen play. Perhaps S Speilbergeo would be interested

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